Golden Globe Race skipper rescued after three days
Injured Golden Globe Race skipper, Abhilash Tomy, has been successfully rescued from the Indian Ocean after waiting three days for rescue.
The 39-year-old was evacuated from his dismasted yacht, Thuriya, some 1,900 miles south-west of Perth, Australia, by the crew of the French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris at 05.30UTC on 24 September 2018.
They boarded Thuriya using inflatable Zodiac boats and administered immediate first aid to Tomy before transferring him via stretcher to Osiris, which has medical facilities on board.
The Indian Navy Commander had been confined to his bunk after sustaining a back injury when his yacht was rolled 360° in a storm on 21 September. This meant he was unable to cut away the rigging, which fortuitously acted as a sea anchor in the stormy conditions, which saw 70 knot winds and 15m waves.
He managed to communicate with Race HQ by text, and confirmed that he had switched on his EPIRB. He also reported he was unable to eat or drink.
Tomy, who holds the record as the first Indian to complete a solo, unassisted, non-stop circumnavigation under sail, was reported to be conscious and talking when rescuers reached him.
His yacht is a replica of Suhaili, which successfully took Sir Robin Knox-Johnston around the world in the original 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.
Fellow competitor, Gregor McGuckin, whose Biscay 36, Hanley Energy Endurance was also dismasted, had been trying to make his way to Tomy under jury rig and engine, but problems with his engine left the Irishman struggling to reach the injured Tomy.
McGuckin, 32, who suffered just bumps and bruises, asked for a controlled evacuation from his boat, feeling it was the responsible option to take while all rescue assets were in place.
He was picked up by the Osiris crew before the French patrol vessel headed to Île Amsterdam where Tomy was transferred to hospital for a full medical assessment.
The rescue operation was co-ordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Canberra, Australia.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race is designed to take the competitors back to the ‘golden age’ of sailing.
Apart from a few exceptions due to safety reasons, the entrants can only carry the same or similar equipment that was used by Sir Robin in the original race.
Out of the 16 skippers who crossed the start line on 1 July 2018 in France, just eight are left in the main race.
Abhilash Tomy, as pictured before the race, suffered a back injury when his yacht dismasted in the Indian Ocean
Gregor McGuckin tried to rescue Abhilash Tomy despite his own yacht being dismasted
The broken masts and rigging of Thuriya acted as a sea anchor